Middle East Respiratory Syndrome makes its way to the U.S. - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome makes its way to the U.S.

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(WOIO) -

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, known as MERS has made its way to the U.S.

"Two cases reported in the U.S. there's been more cases reported throughout the world. All of the cases have had travel to the Middle East and brought it back to the country where it's been identified," said Metro Health Doctor Melissa Osborn.

Metro Health Infectious Diseases Doctor Melissa Osborn tells us the virus was first confirmed in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It has killed about a third of the hundreds it's infected.  

"The symptoms are all respiratory. A fever, cough, shortness of breath is how it starts," added Doctor Osborn.
 
MERS can progress into pneumonia and kidney failure -- and it could end in death.

Doctors say it doesn't appear to spread easily between humans like the flu. In fact the risk to the general public is low.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it takes close contact with a sick person - usually a healthcare worker or a loved one - to catch the virus.  

There is no vaccine or medicine to prevent or cure it.

"The virus is actually in the same family as the cold virus. The coronavirus family. So practicing good hygiene hand washing, avoiding people who are coughing, covering your mouth when you cough," said Doctor Osborn.

Experts don't know exactly where the virus came from, but it has been linked to infected camels in Saudia Arabia and other countries in the Middle East.  

Health officials say they've taken precautions against severe respiratory illnesses,
like passing out masks and using hand sanitizers to help prevent the spread of the virus.

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